Possibility thinking, at IBM SmartCamp Dallas

P1260640I’ve been to a handful of IBM SmartCamps and the vibe is always optimistic, always about possibility. Why wouldn’t it be with startup companies pitching ideas in front of mentors and VCs, and then to the public after a lunch break to assimilate the morning feedback they received? It’s all about forward thinking. Even an attempt at forward thinking, new ideas, and new ways to meet ever-evolving customer needs is contagious, in spite of the many stops, starts, and course corrections that one knows are always coming. If I get anything out of hearing the pitches and the mentors feedback, it’s that perseverance and adaptability are compatible, and together, indispensable qualities of any successful entrepreneur. (For a refreshing/inspiring take on possibility thinking, I recommend Benjamin and Roz Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)

The Dallas SmartCamp, held in September, presented four finalists, all coming at the challenge to make smarter use of data. Dominik Blattner and Cupenya deliver predictive analytics and real-time visibility in your business processes management. Serial entrepreneur Dr. Neil Iscoe and Digital Certainty offer automated website conversion optimization in a space that has traditionally been manual. They won the People’s Choice award in Dallas. Marvin Elder came out of retirement to bring his ideas and tech around natural language to customers as Cognal, offering solutions that enable natural language querying of databases and websites via mobile devices.

Mentor’s Choice winner, ImageVision, utilizes image recognition and machine learning technology for visual search, helping a variety of customers monetize their visual content in support of visual search, ad targeting, and site safety solutions. Co-founder Mitch Butler said IBM SmartCamp and Global Entrepreneur provides his company an invaluable and concentrated window into resources that would be hard to come by otherwise.

See this short video for a taste of the Dallas event and IBM SmartCamps/Global Entrepreneur in general, and check out the brief interviews with each finalist in the playlist that follows. And for more on IBM SmartCamp and IBM Global Entrepreneur, visit ibm.com/isv/startup.

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